Getting it right (or not) with memoir

Monday, July 26, 2010

We bring out the old albums, and, remembering, they talk.  The long gone near again, curiosity alive.  I could almost imagine (listening to them remember) that the stories themselves had not yet unfolded, had not revealed their denouement.  When I wrote Still Love in Strange Places years ago, I was writing about my Salvadoran husband's family stories, about the capacity for reimagining, and about the pliable nature of marriage.  I was writing to get it right.  But listening again to his family tell his family stories this weekend, I remembered what perhaps I've always known:  You never get it all just right.  Stories mutate with time, and with the teller.


Cynthia Pittmann said...

Beth, what a true statement that is! How can we ever get it right? It's always changing for us too. I'm waiting for your "Still Love..." book to arrive. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago so it should be here soon. I look forward to reading your book!

pink dogwood said...

Stories mutate with time, and with the teller.

what a beautiful sentence - so true

Linda C. Wisniewski said...

Beth, I teach memoir to older adults, and their stories mutate in their heads before they even get them down on paper. It's so cool to see how they 'see' the story differently.
Your book is on my never ending list of memoirs to read!

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